The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has serious issues with Xcel’s Monticello nuke. Dave Shaffer of the Strib writes, “A top U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said Monday that Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant needs to improve its “degraded” performance in light of a serious lapse discovered last year in the reactor’s flood-response plans. ‘It is imperative that the licensee identify the depth and breadth of their performance issues and take corrective action,’ Cynthia Pederson, the NRC’s regional administrator, said in an interview with the Star Tribune.”
Again from the New York Times’ James Oestreich on the Minnesota Orchestra … . “If sheer acclamation had been enough, Mr. Vanska would unquestionably have ended the week restored as music director; indeed, a week or so before, such an outcome had seemed plausible in any case. Surely, you thought, the orchestra’s board would finally realize that it had to act quickly, and here was the perfect opportunity to capitalize on events. But when has plausibility played a role in this dispiriting affair?”
On the budget issues at the Legislature, Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says, “The House plans to vote on the budget measure Thursday, with the Senate following suit within days, according to Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. For Bakk, DFL-Cook, and a bipartisan cohort of lawmakers, the key facet of the budget plan is the 5 percent pay boost it would give to nursing homes and community-based caregivers. ‘I feel awful good about that,’ Bakk said.”
For the AP Brian Bakst says, “The increased allowance, which totals $84 million a year and can go for cost-of-living raises for people delivering long-term care, is a centerpiece of budget proposals to distribute the remainder of Minnesota’s $1.2 billion projected surplus. Lawmakers already devoted roughly half to tax relief and to augmenting a state rainy-day account.”
Remember the record lake trout? Sam Cook of the Forum News Service reports, “Rob Scott, the Crane Lake, Minn., angler who caught a potential tip-up world-record lake trout in February, pleaded guilty Friday in Fort Frances Provincial Offences Court to keeping one lake trout over his limit. Scott, 65, won’t get to keep the fish. He paid a $400 fine plus court costs amounting to about $75 … .”
From Savage, the AP reports, “A Minnesota youth pastor has been charged with trying to solicit nude photos from adolescent girls online. A criminal complaint says 24-year-old Matthew Boos, of St. Louis Park, told investigators he had posed as a 15-year-old girl on Facebook and another social media site. River Valley Church in Savage says it has fired Boos, who worked there for three years. The charges filed Monday relate to a girl from Pope County in western Minnesota, but a criminal complaint says Pope met many of his victims through his job as a youth pastor.” You can be a “pastor” at 21?
I don’t like the look of this … . Dee DePass of the Strib says, “3M Co. is leaving town for its annual meeting for the first time. The company, one of the best-known names in Minnesota business and the state’s most valuable company by market capitalization, will meet shareholders in Austin, Texas, in May instead of at its usual venue, St. Paul’s RiverCentre. Company officials said the switch is meant to shine attention on its Austin-based energy and electronics business.” And what’s the economic impact on St. Paul?
I hope you’re sitting down. The invariably pro-stadium at any price Strib editorial board is down with another hand-out to the NFL. “The anti-stadium crowd is back, this time with full-throated indignation over state tax incentives required for Minneapolis to be seriously considered as a Super Bowl host in 2018. It’s a tiresome reprise of arguments ignoring the benefits of major league status for a state that must constantly battle its reputation as a frozen outpost on the Canadian border. … Fact is, top corporate talent and skilled young people make career choices in part based on quality-of-life factors that include entertainment options and civic vitality.” Oh, really? A “fact” you say? Top execs will not move here if we don’t subsidize a football game? Perhaps some hard numbers are in order?
At MPR, Paul Huttner calls the storm up north a “Mega Blizzard.” A couple of snippets from his blog: “A major Mega Blizzard rages into early Tuesday from the Dakotas into the Red River Valley and northwest Minnesota. The same system has produced the first tornadoes of the year in Minnesota, in March. … The Grand Forks NWS reported thundersnow with zero visibility and snowfall totals over 10 inches in many areas, and as much as 20 inches possible by early Tuesday. … The next storm winds up Thursday and Friday, and could bring more snow to Minnesota. This one seems to be tracking further south.”